Barnum & Bailey Circus
1. Historic U.S. Events, ed. "Barnum's Circus Opens." U.S. History in Context. Last modified 2014. (January 4, 2017).
3. Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey GIF. Photograph. GIPHY. 2016. (April 18, 2017)
4. Barnum and Bailey Circus. Photograph. Circuses and Slideshows. 2013. (April 4, 2017)
7. Michael S. Williamson. The Big Exit. 2016. Photo. Washington Post, Washington, D.C. (February 1, 2017).
Following the "P.T. Barnum Travelling Exhibition and World's Fair on Wheels", James A. Bailey, joined Barnum in 1881, to form what is very well-known today as "Barnum & Bailey's Circus". Barnum, in showcasing his newest collection of animals for the combined circus show, "claims to have the finest collection since the famous one made by Noah".
Dubbed as the "Greatest Show on Earth", the Barnum & Bailey Circus traveled by train in "more than 60 separate cars" and made more than one million dollars each season. Million of people would travel into town to see what they heard was the "Greatest Show on Earth". All together, The Barnum & Bailey Circus held three circus rings and could fit 20,000 spectators. Those 20,000 spectators crowded the streets on the parade days, the first parade running from Madison Avenue to Broadway and then all the way back to the Garden. (1)
For those living in rural areas, when the circus came to town it was "the most exciting" day of the year. The show was welcomed to town with a parade lead by elephants Circus shows provided a sense of excitement which "contrasted...the otherwise generally placid existence of rural life". The circus also unified the rural population, giving them something to talk about and even making them familiar with the most popular music and jokes of the time. (2)
Although not featured today, the elephants were a huge hit at the "Barnum & Bailey Show", especially among the children & those living in impoverished, urban areas who had never seen such a thing.